Princess and the Frog References

For  Disney copy this week we looked at Princess and the Frog’s apparent love for other Disney animated films. We’re sure others have meticulously gone through the movie to find all of the Disney Easter eggs but we decided to challenge ourselves and see how many we could come up with without doing research. You know, for fun!

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Let’s start with the obvious: the evening star that Tiana wishes on as a little girl and later, in cynical desperation at the La Bouff masquerade ball. We know When You Wish Upon a Star from Pinnocchio, and The Second Star to the Right from Peter Pan.

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Well now we know the star is actually Evangeline. And the whole “second star to the right” thing gets a new meaning after the funeral at the end.

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Probably everyone saw this one. Looks like the magic carpet from Aladdin, or more likely, a replica, ended up in New Orleans.

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Maybe this is a stretch but they do look like a weird version of Jasmine and Aladdin. “Jasmine” here even had those huge gold earrings.

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This one was probably not intentional:

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But it made us think of Dumbo. Damn it Disney don’t make us think about Dumbo.

*cries forever*

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But oh look, King Triton must be in a friendly-type mood.

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And Mama Odie reminds us of the Evil Queen here, with her “Gumbo, gumbo, in the pot, we need a Princess. Whatcha got?” rhyme. But she’s more like Ursula, if Ursula had been a good squid person and had used her magic to counsel people rather than manipulate them.

Here we have two upbeat songs that’re mostly our characters getting way ahead of themselves and not really thinking things through. The animation and colour scheme change too to compliment the upbeatness.

Also, this reminds us of something.

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Louis is apparently a Madame Mim fan, and we can’t blame him.

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And then there’s this:

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And just as a sidenote – ALL of Lotte’s toys are royalty? She needs to get a different hobby. And that’s coming from us, who never shut up about Disney movies.

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Adventures in The Sims 2

I (erm) once made a family of nuns. I think the reason I did this was because I was planning to orphan some Sim children and I wanted them to go and live in a nice little convent, so I needed the nuns. But before the orphaning could begin, first they had to get down to the real business.

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The take home message is that I was a horrible interior decorator in this game.

Let’s move on to this guy. I did not make this guy. But I did make him a playable character.

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He made some very expressive facial expressions.

Also this is exhibit B in my terrible interior decorating skills. Where’s all the art?

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Those two (pictured above) bred, and one of their daughters started making stupid faces so I guess what I learned was that the tendency to make stupid facial expressions is an inheritable trait in the Sims 2.

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I honestly have no idea what she could possibly have been so mad about.

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Bathtubs and barbeques, huh?

I took the picture because I thought their cloud-watching skills were funny, but I actually remember what I was doing with these young women which might in fact be funnier. I had these two Sims that both had the “romance” orientation, so having 10 lovers at once scored a lot of points. But I wanted them to end up together, and breaking up with 20 different people seemed like too much work. So I scheduled two events: first, have all the girlfriends of that guy show up and cloud-watch until he came home and flirted, in front of them, with a random townie.

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Then I did it again with the guys.

It was really funny watching 10 jaded lovers slap my Sims one by one.

But seriously why do all the clouds at Sim State look like bathtubs.

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These ladies preferred to sleep in their underwear, so when people died before they got changed in the morning the visuals got a little weird.

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Oh and I’m almost positive that this one didn’t die in her underwear, but she was resurrected in her underwear, so. OK.

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Maybe I shouldn’t judge but I don’t think that’s the most appropriate face to make when surviving death.

(what is that wallpaper though)

My 9-year-old Self Defends the Hobbit Movies

The Hobbit was supposed to be my (erm’s) introduction to high fantasy, which is my father’s realm. My mother isn’t a big fan, or even a fan of high fantasy at all, but even she insisted that I read The Hobbit, as she too had read it as a kid and had liked it.

I was reluctant because my favourite books were The Unicorns of Balinor series, which I had read over and over, and some of the Bailey School Kids books as well. My teachers insisted that I could read levels above that stuff, so I should get cracking or my reading comprehension skills wouldn’t be further developed. My parents took this to heart and thrust The Hobbit at me.

I started out annoyed. I wanted to read about supernatural creatures staffing the entirety of Bailey School or unicorns ruling Balinor over again, because I liked them and they were familiar. But I was compelled to read The Hobbit, and this I did.

I hated it. I think I went in planning to hate it, but JRR didn’t help himself any. His narrator in this book is patronizing as hell, sort of like what you’d find in a Jane Yolen book. Occasionally he (and it has to be a he, there are no women in this book) interjects to scold the reader for doubting Bilbo. When I was in university and had to reread it for a class, I found the narrator charming and whimsical, but I was told by my prof that Tolkien later regretted the tone and intrusiveness of the narrator. I think for me at age nine, forced to read a book I didn’t want to read by every adult authority figure in my life, having another narrative authority tell me what to think about the story I was reading was the death knell in my ability to enjoy any of it.

So the movies: there are three of them, and we all know that this is excessive. After all, each book from The Lord of the Rings trilogy only got one movie, and they are all longer than little old The Hobbit. But stretching the book into three movies means that the filmmakers could add some things, and some of these additions and other changes, when taken together, actually fix every criticism of The Hobbit my nine-year-old self had made.

  1. The narrator: as I mentioned, I wanted to punch the narrator for telling me what to think. Happily the movies have no narrator, and problem solved.
  2. Gandalf: buddy was pretty useless in the book. He kept leaving at convenient moments so that Bilbo and the dwarves would have to face serious danger without the easy solution of having a wizard in their company. The movies give Gandalf a subplot, so that in each example of this (apart from when they meet the trolls) we know why Gandalf isn’t with them.
  3. The Dwarves: this was a treasure hunt, and I hate treasure hunts. The dwarves wanted to march off to the dragon Smaug’s keep to take all of his gold and they needed a burglar. I wasn’t invested at all in their quest. I thought they ought to leave the dragon alone with his fortune.
  4. Bilbo: as a direct consequence of his being the burglar on this quest, I wasn’t happy about Bilbo being a thief. The worst part was Gollum – I was already rooting for Bilbo to get eaten, but instead Bilbo bested Gollum rather unfairly and took his one possession in the world, leaving him despairing. I continued to hate Bilbo until the movie version, mostly out of spite, but the movies changed all of that because Martin Freeman.
  5. The ponies: the fact that the ponies all got eaten by the goblins but the greedy dwarves and Bilbo got to escape with their lives made me VERY mad. There’s a reason animal sidekicks (usually) never die in Disney movies, Tolkien. I am being serious, though, it upset me. All it did was emphasize that their quest was dangerous and unimportant, and the only victims of it at this point were the innocent ponies. The moment the smarmy narrator informed me they were to be eaten, I began hoping the dragon would kill them all, knowing that he wouldn’t, suspecting that instead the group, or maybe Gandalf, would kill the dragon instead and it would be incorrectly labelled a victory by that same insufferable narrator.
  6. So the dragon: I loved the part where Smaug makes fun of Bilbo. I didn’t expect him to talk and was happily surprised by that. I awaited, resigned, that moment where Gandalf (it would probably be Gandalf, right?) would slay Smaug and the dwarves could swim around in gold and jewels. And then what happened? Well, Random, son of Random, from Random’s Ville who graced like three pages of this book grabbed some random arrow and shot it so that it pierced Smaug in some random weak spot in his jewelry armor. I can’t even describe how cheated I felt about that.
  7. Um how about that there are no women in this mess.

The movies changed all of this. Bilbo I admit was mostly just me getting over myself, but giving Gandalf somewhere to be, giving the dwarves a good reason to want to get rid of Smaug and get the treasure, making the ponies run away instead of getting eaten, giving Bard a family and a backstory and lots of screentime, and the addition of several women, but Tauriel especially, fixed all of my problems.

I know people have complained about Tauriel being a Mary Sue and look, I could have done without the romance plot too. But if this character, love triangle or no love triangle, had been in the book, I may have been able to look past all of my other problems, because she would have been a lovely self-image fantasy for all of us girl types. Bilbo doesn’t cut it, though he was either supposed to cut it or Tolkien and his publishers weren’t interested in girls reading it. When I began reading about how people of colour and LGBT people were asking for more representation the biggest reason I empathized immediately was my memories of how tiresome it was reading this particular book. Even though I had my Disney movies and my Balinor books, being told I had to move on, and that this was the sort of stuff I would be expected to read from now on was maddening.

My parents asked me how I liked it once I reported to them that I was done, even though every time they checked in with me previously I had said, “It’s boring. I don’t like it.” They just replied with, “You just have to keep reading and wait for the good parts.”

I said, “I read and read and read, and I was waiting for the good parts, and then it ended.”

They didn’t force other books on me again, but I’m sure they would have eventually.

If it hadn’t been for Harry Potter.

The Never-Ending Saga of Canada’s Terrible Animal Rights Lesgislation

This article sums up this mess going on in parliament currently.

Just to add my (erm’s) two five cents: these arguments against passing a bill, which is a bill that would only criminalize the worst animal abuse, and only when committed against pets, are kind of like that refrain we hear time and time again whenever someone’s complaining about some awful animal cruelty: “Are any of you who are complaining about this vegan? Because if not you should shut up.”

As a vegan, can I just say that anyone is allowed to be outraged by animal cruelty. Anyone. Yes, it would be lovely if that outrage were followed by even small attempts to limit meat/dairy/egg consumption, but if it isn’t, I’ll still take your outrage. We don’t live in a perfect world, everyone isn’t going vegan tomorrow. I don’t think we need to wait until we’re all eating tofu kebabs to start to chip away at the kinds of animal abuse that EVERYONE agrees are heinous. EVERYONE thinks we need harsher laws when we’re talking about abusing cats and dogs. Everyone, of course, except people listening to the animal exploitation brigade’s lobbyists.

I’m almost positive this bill, which isn’t good enough but it’s something and therefore I support it, is not going to pass. Bills like it won’t be passing anytime soon. Not in Canada, at least. But even with my defeatist attitude, I know that the lobbyists are right to be scared. The day that all animal exploitation is criminalized is coming, though it may be far away. They can fight it all they want, but they simply don’t have it in them to fight as long or as hard as we do, because it’s a 9-5 job for them. It’s our hearts and souls. And that means, we’ll win. It’ll take forever, of course, but there’s no stopping us.

3 Days, 3 Quotes: Day 2

So that amazing artwork that you see there is the Golden Trio reimagined, by peaceofseoul who is incredible.

Setting aside incredible artwork, we’re on day 2 of 3 Days, 3 Quotes, as we were nominated by Jordan Bates (here’s her awesome Day 2 post). And for today, it’s a Ron quote:

“‘I’m not going to take any rubbish from Malfoy this year,’ he said angrily. ‘I mean it. If he makes one more crack about my family, I’m going to get hold of his head and —’ Ron made a violent gesture in midair.”

We chose this quote not because we endorse violence, even in the fictional realm (unless you’re using it against Ramsay Bolton, then it’s all fair game), but because Ron is one of those characters that puts up with a lot more than he should have to. Poor Ron, he has it rough in his own universe and even rougher in ours. In HP he’s the sixth son of a poor family who’s best friends with the most famous baby survivor in the world and who eventually marries the top witch of every age. In our world he’s inexplicably hated by fans and the screenwriters/directors of the movie adaptations. We love him for exactly the reasons that (we think) people hate him: he’s vulnerable, emotional, self-conscious, and he lashes out sometimes at the wrong people and in the wrong ways. He’s relatable, in other words. His flaws are so easily recognizable because we all have those ones. We think some people see him and are repulsed by the uncanny mirror image JK Rowling wrote into this character, and others, like us, just kind of ache for him. But it’s all good because he survives and makes the most out of his life, and we’re pretty sure if he were real he’d just laugh at the haters because he faced his insecurities while they were magically welded to a piece of Voldie’s soul and he won, and exactly how many of us would have been able to do that?

We’ve all been where Ron is in this quote – we’ve all dealt with some bully or another who built themselves up by trying to tear us down. We’ve all felt that frustration. And while we shouldn’t Oberyn Martell those people, it’s OK for us to take a stand in culturally-acceptable ways.

Today we nominate some awesome chums:

All The Space Between

Words and Whatnots

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THE RETURN OF SHANNARA

Three doesn’t watch this show or read the books so it is I, erm, the humble thief. Proceed.

The Shannara Chronicles has been renewed for a second season which, I suppose, is a good thing. The evolution of Bandon (a decidedly show-only character) was actually interesting and unsettling to watch, at the very end. It also mirrors Brooks’ tendency to explore the battle between good and evil in any particular character, which is always more interesting than just accepting that demons are demons and their only goal is to ruin everyone else’s day. My favourite take on this from Brooks is the Knight of the Word series, and Nest Freemark in particular. I would LOVE to see that one adapted live action, and I do kind of think an MTV series would be a decent medium to get the job done.

But there are no plans for that so more Shannara is going to have to suffice.

Another thing I enjoyed about the season finale was the show admirably not balking at turning Amberle into the Ellcrys, so I got to see the hero-moment I’d been waiting for since reading the book at age 13 or so. Eretria got to be a hero too which I was very happy about, because she was pretty useless in the book.

But now Eretria is with the trolls, and has seen something shocking which we will have to wait until next year to discover. I’m not interested. I don’t remember the trolls from the book, apart from the time they showed up to help my queen Wren fight the Federation in The Talismans of Shannara which would also make a good live-action show/movie. But not on MTV. Sorry.

I know what happens in the future concerning Will and Eretria and I’m almost positive that we’re nowhere near that yet, so season 2 won’t be Wishsong. But maybe season 3?

If season 2 isn’t beholden to book plot at all, I have no idea what to expect. Still, I am mostly convinced that it will actually turn out better than season 1 since there won’t be the book conveniently sitting on my bookshelf, ready to help me make all of those comparisons which turn out unfavourably for the show because high fantasy, it is not.

Which is, again, why Knight of the Word would have been the better choice for a Brooks adaptation. I’m sure MTV is listening.

3 Days 3 Quotes Book Tag: Day 1

Morning! We’re doing a round of 3 Days, 3 Quotes starting this morning. Thank you to Jordan of  Words… I Need Words for tagging us. Make sure to check out her wonderful blog!

Rules:

  • Thank the person you nominated you
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

erm nominated me (three) to pick the first quote, and I’m going with an old favourite:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from  here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where – ” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“-so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

This is, of course, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol. Continue reading “3 Days 3 Quotes Book Tag: Day 1”

Brave

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Last week, we talked about masculinity in Brother Bear, and how the movie manages to have a sincere discussion about masculinity without making a joke out of the whole thing.

This week, in honour of Mother’s Day, we’re going to talk about Brave – which is just as much about womanhood as Brother Bear is about manhood, and, inexplicably, also just as much about bears.

Brave is generally considered to be a Pixar dud, which we think is unfair for our own specific reasons, as well as our more general bias about Pixar films. We like them, don’t get us wrong (excepting the Cars franchise), but while Brave may not have the cleanest plot like some others we could mention, its underlying themes work for us way more than those of some of Pixar’s biggest hits. Mother-daughter relationships, a coming-of-age story that’s realistically about coming-of-age, and the underlying importance of family do it for us. Toys in existential crises about children growing up… don’t.

But we can’t argue that the film doesn’t suffer from story problems. It’s pretty obvious. It had trouble while it was in development with it’s director and writer, Brenda Chapman, fired in the middle of production for creative differences. Erm, who is a sucker for behind-the-scenes stuff, watched everything she could find on the making of this movie and came away still none the wiser about what specifically went wrong, but that’s OK. We’d rather engage with the movie as it is than try to critique the movie it might have been. Let’s start by defending it against some of the more dubious complaints we’ve heard.

Number One: Merida shouldn’t complain/make selfish and irresponsible decisions. Her complaining about being forced into marriage and wanting her freedom is invalid because every once in a while she doesn’t have to be a princess, and also she’s privileged.

Being forced to get married is a good enough reason to do something rash, when you’ve tried arguing and you’re not being listened to. And this is true no matter how privileged you are or how often you get days off.

Number Two: Bears.

Yes.

Number Three: The male characters are exclusively used for comic relief.

… so?

Female characters are typically used only for certain things, like love interests, prizes, goals, villains, temptresses, or simply as naked, dying, or dead bodies. Forgive us if we’re not concerned that the men in this movie are not as integral to the story as Merida and Elinor are – because that’s all that’s happening. The male characters are important, if mostly good for a giggle, and there’s genuine warmth to Fergus at least.

Number Four: Exploitative of Scottish people.

We don’t want to be insensitive because there are certainly some stereotypes here and some jokes that didn’t need to be included. We’ve all seen Pixar movies, yes? We know they’re capable of being smart. Making a joke that is ultimately, “Haaaaaaaaaa Scottish people are Scottish” is beneath their creative capabilities.

But.

Having seen the behind-the-scenes footage we know that there was a lot of research put into this, and it seems as though the filmmakers went into it with a lot of respect. This isn’t the Siamese cats or the black crows or Peter Pan’s Indian tribe. It isn’t even like Aladdin, where the characters and setting are vaguely Middle Eastern but the actors are all white people, who occasionally put on accents. These are lovable, fleshed out characters playing on a beautifully crafted stage, played by Scottish actors. So apart from everyone’s tendency to have cheap laughs at kilts and haggis, we’d argue that the film is for the most part respectful.

The unique things we love about Brave

Mothers, Daughters, Families

Brave is the only Disney or Pixar fairy tale about a family. Everyone loves to complain that each Disney fairy tale hero is missing at least one parent, but Brave is the fairy tale movie that breaks the rule.

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Not only does Brave tell a story about a family that starts together and ends together, which, if you think about it, only makes sense in a genre intended for all ages, but it is the only example we can think of for a fully Mother-Daughter narrative in animation.

Forget animation, actually. While we aren’t entirely lacking mother-daughter films, the ones we can think of that we’d recommend are sparse: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya SisterhoodOne True Thing, Dolores Claiborne, Mermaids, Stepmom, and Freaky Friday. Maybe this is because we need to be watching different movies, but stories about mothers and daughters seem to be in short supply.

Divine is an emotional roller-coaster – worth the ride, but we relate to that Jann Arden song “Good Mother” so while we very much like the movie, it doesn’t get under our skin like Brave does.

One True Thing and Stepmom are about dying mothers, which is a different thing.

Dolores Claiborne is amazing, but it’s more about women than it is about mothers and daughters. Also it’s horrifying.

Mermaids has a lot of angst going on, and someone makes a choice later on in the film with major familial consequences, so it’s a similar story to Brave.

Freaky Friday is the ONLY truly lighthearted one! It’s similar to Brave in its suitability for younger audiences, its exploration of a mother-daughter relationship where they both learn to empathize with each other and communicate properly, and again, angst.

Now there’s at least a smidgen of romance in each of these, except Dolores Claiborne, which again is more about women than it is about mothers and daughters. Brave’s lack of romance means that Merida and Elinor can focus 100% on their relationship with each other.

Like in Brother Bear, the transformation into a bear impedes communication between Elinor and Merida. However, in Brother Bear, it requires a magical transformation back into a human in order for Kenai and Denahi can work things out. In Brave, it’s while Elinor is a bear that she and Merida are able to communicate properly. Merida implores on several occasions for her parents, particularly Elinor, to listen to her, and they don’t. Although Fergus sees eye to eye with Merida on many more issues than Elinor does, it’s not from listening to his daughter, but from their similar personalities. In the climax of the film, he rides off to kill Bear!Elinor, and Merida shouts at him to listen – and he does not. It takes her standing in his way, twice, with weapons, to stop him. In Elinor’s case, their arguments frustrate her because she believes Merida doesn’t listen to her, but in this case “listen” does not mean effective communication, it means compliance with everything she asks her to do. Merida won’t do this, because she does not want to, quite rightly.

When Merida does her speech at the end, successfully ending the brawl without any help from Elinor, this is also Merida finally reaching out to her mother. Elinor, too, is finally listening. She sees Merida about to agree to her betrothal, and even though she can’t speak (or roar), she frantically mimes her way through the rest of the speech – and she and Merida communicate freely for the first time, despite all of their obstacles, and come to a compromise on how to handle the situation.

Ultimately in both films, the bear transformation is an effective metaphor for the challenges people have with communicating in these important relationships. In this movie, it was also the motivation for Merida and Elinor to finally effectively communicate.

Romance Does Not Exist

There was a time when Merida was to be the great lesbian hero of the Disney-Pixar world, but that time has passed and we’ve moved on to Elsa. It’s a good thing, too, because we are in dire need of at least one princess who isn’t interested in who she’s going to marry (or who she’s going to be romantically linked to, for those princesses who don’t decide to get married right away). Merida’s fixation on staying single, keeping her freedom, and her reiterations of, “I’m just not ready” and, of course, “In fact, [the princess] might not ever be ready,” suggest that she could be asexual, or aromantic, or both.

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She does say later, during her pacifying of the Lords speech, that the Queen wants young people to be free to find love in their own time, but as we have learned from Disney movies of late (this one included), love comes in many more forms than just romantic love. In any case, here’s to Merida not getting married. Even though we all liked Young MacGuffin.

The dogs aren’t cute

We suspect they’re instead historically accurate. Which is nice.

The Coming-of-Age Story is more like what growing up actually is like

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Obviously it’s not a completely realistic coming-of-age story, but Merida’s teenage angst and eye-rolling and stubbornness remind us of being teenagers more than Elsa’s character arc in Frozen, for example, or Simba’s in The Lion King. This is probably because some heavy stuff is happening to those characters, so the way they come of age is not going to resemble an ordinarily bumpy transition to adulthood. But Brave is refreshing because of this – despite (and because of) the magic happening around her, Merida has to grow up and take some responsibility.

Brave GETS how coming-of-age and mother-daughter relationships are linked for girls.

If you are a woman who grew up with a mother, at some point or another she probably taught you how to survive as a woman living in a man’s world. Whether we think it’s right or wrong, women have to operate within certain rules, or at least be aware of those rules when we purposefully go on to break them. We learn that from the female role models in our lives, and in Brave, Merida learns from Elinor.

In the throne room, the men get into a brawl. Elinor sends Fergus to deal with it, and he ends up resorting to violence when his attempts to pacify the men fail. Merida and her mother sit there, visibly fed up, as the men fight.

Elinor stands, and walks through the room. The men all stop and stare at her sheepishly. Merida looks up, visibly noticing the power her mother has at this moment.

The lesson here is simple, and familiar: Women are expected to repress every violent or emotional instinct. Men are not.

Elinor teaches Merida this lesson every day – her brothers get away with murder, she doesn’t get away with anything. A princess is a role model. A princess is compassionate. A princess does not chortle. A princess does not stuff her gob. A princess does not place her weapons on the table. A princess should not even have weapons, in Elinor’s opinion.

Before we get all up in arms like the clans here, let’s take a moment to consider whether the movie thinks this is right or wrong.

On one hand, yes, the movie does seem to believe Elinor. Look at what happens when the ladies do resort to violence – Merida hurts her mother by cutting the tapestry, and Elinor hurts Merida in kind by burning her bow.

On the other hand, although Merida is held responsible for nearly causing a war and turning her mother into a bear, she does eventually get what she wanted: Her freedom to break the Woman Rules.

Merida walks through the brawling men just like her mom. And when she can’t make them listen, she takes a note from Fergus, and screams, “SHUT IT.” And it works! Because Merida is not her mother, and she’s not a perfect princess. But she is a powerful, responsible young woman who is capable of simultaneously embracing her role as princess and breaking the rules that prevent her from being who she is- a wild-haired marksman who wants to stay single and let her hair flow in the wind as she rides through the glen firing arrows into the sunset.

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The only problem we have: Bears.

We’re not really sure what’s going on with Mor’du. We understand that he is a legendary prince who ruined himself, his family, and his kingdom by being selfish, and by going to a bear-obsessed witch for help. But we also know that he’s behind the Wisps summoning Merida to the same fate, and later summoning her to mend her own bond and, conveniently, get Mor’du killed and free his spirit.

It seems kind of mean to trick a sixteen year old girl like that just to get a bear killed. Why didn’t he instead go after Fergus if he wanted the bear killed so badly? Was that what he was trying to do all along, but Fergus doesn’t believe in magic so he had to mess with his wife and daughter, who do?

And how is it that he’s both Mor’du and the power behind the Wisps? And why isn’t he just a regular bear? He should have lived out his lifespan by now if it really is an ancient kingdom as the legends say, and at least some of those wounds should have slowed him down. Why does he seek out people to savage and hang around his old throne-room when it’s implied that should Elinor remain a bear forever, she’ll just be a regular bear which will sever the bonds she has to her family?brave-disneyscreencaps.com-9861

When Elinor goes full bear she does become a danger to those around her. First, she attacks Merida, but only when Merida taps her on the back, which you would never want to do to a real bear for obvious reasons. Later she attacks Fergus, who is a real threat to her, but her interactions with Merida are fairly harmless. When she begins to lose herself for the final time, she just lays there letting Merida hug her until eventually she changes back. There isn’t a consistent metaphor about loss of humanity here, because we don’t have a clear definition of a binary. For example, with bear-Elinor’s violence, we only see it twice, and on two occasions we see her tolerate Merida’s presence, which means violence is not linked to the animal, with non-violence linked to the human, as it normally would be.

The only common thread is that bear-Elinor doesn’t know that she is Merida’s mother, or Fergus’s wife. And even this goes both ways: Fergus refuses to listen to Merida when she tries to explain to him that his wife has been transformed into a bear. Elinor remaining a bear is framed as being tragic not because she’ll be a vicious killing machine like Mor’du, but instead because she will lose her family, and her family will lose her.

That makes sense. We still think they could have portrayed this a little better.

We’re asked to take for granted Mor’du’s existence and actions and we suppose that we can – perhaps the bear-witch’s spell was a little bit different for the prince than it was for Merida. But the only information we’re given is that the witch is just inexplicably obsessed by bears, and every time someone asks her for a spell they do so in such a way that, happily, she can just perform the one spell she knows and everybody magics into bears.

We needed Sitka’s silent wisdom or something, so that we could understand what the significance of bears is in particular.

The only thing we can think of is the “mother bear” thing, and Elinor certainly fulfills this stereotype. As much as it’s Fergus who wants to revenge himself against Mor’du, it is ultimately Elinor who kills him, and she only does this to save her daughter.

Ultimately, our only problem with the movie is the bears. Even though it didn’t need to be bears, or they could have more thoroughly explained why it had to be bears, there’s enough depth in their use to excuse their presence in this film, excessive and confusing though it may be. Despite its flaws, this is the first Pixar film with a female lead. The second Pixar film with a female lead is Inside Out, and it’s worth noting that these two movies are also the only Pixar films with a story that would provide catharsis for the audience and not the creators. Not to knock Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, or Ratatouille, but these are stories about parent figures, special people, and prodigies. Although Brave (and Inside Out) has parent figures, the lesson is that they need to give their child room to grow and be themselves – and shouldn’t that be the entire point of children’s literature?

 

Clarice from It Takes Two Appreciation Post

So It Takes Two was one of those movies that happened. Re-mem-ber?

remember

We, being sisters close in age, were fascinated by this movie exactly until The Parent Trap (the Lindsay Lohan version) came out. But we were still loyal enough to it to pick it up on DVD. Rewatching it we discovered that there really isn’t a reason to watch this when you have access to Parent Trap after all. But we do need to talk about Clarice. Whom we ABSOLUTELY ADOOOOOOOOORE.

Continue reading “Clarice from It Takes Two Appreciation Post”

Can you spot all the confirmed fan theories in Game of Thrones: Home?

We’ve said it twice and we’ll say it again: We’re excited about EVERYTHING this season except the Greyjoys. They are the absolute worst. (Other than the Boltons, but that should be implied at all times)
Here’s some excellent ASOIAF reading material to get all caught up on your fan theories!

mynerd obsessions

I know you think I’m going to focus on the main confirmed theory, but of course I’m going to save that for last.

Lyanna

OK so maybe this wasn’t a fan theory, but we don’t know a whole lot about Lyanna that hasn’t be told to us. In the first book we hear stories from Robert that make her sound like a sweet virgin that was attacked by a spoiled prince. Ned’s memories are tinted by grief and shrouded by mystery.

So we finally get to see Lyanna and witness for ourselves that she’s not some simpering lady that would get taken advantage of. Instead she’s a fierce woman like Arya and doesn’t seem like someone that would need much help.

Maybe then we’ll get R+L=J confirmed next week. Lyanna seems more like someone that would let the world burn around her to be with the one she loves. I…

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Brother Bear

Iiiiiit’s  Disney copy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Having watched Ice Age so unnecessarily much lately, we felt it was time to talk about one of the movies in which Disney just hits the nail on the head when it comes to deconstructing masculinity because as we discussedIce Age is pretty much exclusively about men and manages to be really weird about it.

So Brother Bear.

“The story of a boy who became a man… by becoming a bear.”

Yikes, that’s kind of clunky. And it’s the last line in the movie, so, double yikes.

We may as well get a bunch of stuff out of the way before we praise this movie, because it isn’t The Lion King. Which is to say, it has flaws. Continue reading “Brother Bear”

The Jungle Book

erm saw The Jungle Book this week and has some thoughts! This is a good thing. Watching a movie and not having thoughts is… inadvisable. I maintain that media is not like poisonous food – if you eat poisonous food it will make you sick, or it will make you die. But consuming potentially poisonous media can’t hurt you as long as you’re actively engaging with it instead of just letting it sink into your brain unchallenged.

That ridiculousness that just happened up there makes it seem like I had major problems with this movie – and I certainly don’t. I’m just needlessly self-righteous about my approach to watching movies. And now that it’s said, let’s talk. Continue reading “The Jungle Book”